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Among the other freedoms, the spirit of our age has been and remains largely defined by freedom of enterprise. Of course, it was not always so. Why an era makes a preferred choice in favor of one freedom or another, fighting for it, suffering for it and shedding blood for it, is a special question. Let us remember for how many centuries the struggle for religious freedom served as a dramatic and sometimes tragic leitmotif in European history.

"It seems that Moscow, will never forgive NATO for being the alliance that survived the Cold War," so wrote one influential European newspaper a few days ago. This is not so at all, but try to agree with me that it is difficult to forgive those who, having survived the Cold War, have not learned their lessons. Down to the 60th anniversary of NATO, a lot has been said about the fact that it saved the world from a Third World War, consolidated Europe and provided a peaceful conclusion to the Cold War. These words are similar to the views and opinions once expressed by Margaret Thatcher, that nuclear weapons saved us from a Third World War.

Brainstorming is a remarkable American invention, but the practice may be untimely amidst serious fighting. At the moment the war against the Talibs in Afghanistan is raging while, according to European expert estimates, the extremist groups are at the peak of power and therefore unreceptive to negotiation offers. With the Talibs entrenched in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq and Somalia, even seemingly sober plans for political reform in Afghanistan stand no chance.

Unlike Great Britain and France, the US has no colonial experience, but it must be credited with learning fast. At present Washington is demonstrating an unprecedented level of tolerance to local customs and traditions in Afghanistan. Aware of the Afghan population's adherence to tribal independence and of its resulting allergy to hypercentralization of governance, Washington is increasingly leaning towards the model of distributed administration for the country. Currently the US is looking into the possibility of considerable autonomy for Afghanistan's provinces. 

Receiving the Nobel Prize in Oslo, US president B. Obama painted a grim picture of the problems the world would have to face if — not getting the due assistance from other countries — the US lost the war in Afghanistan. At the moment, it would be unfair to complain that the NATO allies, Russia, and several other countries did not help the US in the Afghan campaign. While the Talib forces in Afghanistan are no match to those of the Western coalition with the US at the helm, the key objective behind the mission — to make launching new terrorist attacks against the US or other countries from the Afghan territory impossible - remains out of reach after nine years of efforts. History routinely dispels triumphalist illusions of those who tend to rely excessively on military might.

The natural comparison between the 1979-1989 Soviet and the current US-led campaigns in Afghanistan highlights the fact that, confronted by the Mujahidins who were backed by the US and other countries, the Soviet forces in Afghanistan never enjoyed the vast superiority over their enemy such as the one the Western coalition maintains in the country nowadays. The budget of the Soviet war in Afghanistan was also fairly modest compared to the amounts of money poured by the US into the Afghan campaign. In this light, it may seem surprising that the US control over the Afghan territory is chronically patchy and that the Talib leaders are not serially standing trials in the Hague yet.

Looking through the documents of the Yalta Conference of the "Big Three" in 1945, one could not help but wonder, what great material it would be for a play in the theater! Against the backdrop of still grand and terrible pictures of the war, with the participation of such vibrant and diverse characters, hidden, but constantly forcing their way out of conflicts of interest. Here even curiosities and humor are electrified by special drama. Just Stalin's introduction of Beria to his Anglo-American counterparts saying: "This is our Himmler!" Or, for example, Stalin's reaction to the fact that in their correspondence, Churchill and Roosevelt called him "Uncle Joe", as Roosevelt had said loudly, after Churchill had encouraged him the day before. Stalin immediately said: "When can I get up from the table and walk away?" And then some member of the U.S. delegation, defusing the situation, said," You call America Uncle Sam."  So Stalin calmed down.

The "Passionarity theory of ethnicity" has some flaws when we begin to apply it to modern life. The presence of the "heroic layer," ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of historical purpose, is not a necessary attribute today of a passionist civilization, nation, or ethnic group. Neither the United States nor China, who are the most passionarist members of the international process do not themselves represent anything heroic, except, perhaps, the possibility to challenge the "mainstream" of Obama. The circumstance that a year ago caused delight in Americans yearning for a political hero. Otherwise, we are dealing with the passionarity of an anthill, the hyperactivity in which, let aside excess production, there is nothing heroic. In fact, what can be heroic about an anthill?